Horse-shoe layout is in a rounded-U shape. There are only chairs placed in the horse-shoe shape with no tables. It is usually used for bigger groups.
Oval seating arrangement.
Oval style is just like the horse-shoe, where there are only chairs but it is arranged in the shape of an oval.
This setting consists of two rows of tables, arranged in a V-like shape, if you are looking at it from the back of the room. There is a row of table on the left and a row of table on the right, with sufficient space for people to walk in between the two rows, to get to the front of the room. There is usually a speaker, presentation or program going on at the front of the room.
Herringbone setting is rows of tables and chairs but inverted inwards in the middle of the room. Imagine fish bones but without the centre bone. It is like classroom style except the rows of tables and chairs are placed like arrow shape, if you are looking at it from the front of the room.
Theatre style is where there are rows of chairs all facing towards the front of the room, where there is usually a stage area with speaker, presentation or performance going on. It is like the layout you see in the cinema or performance hall. There should be sufficient space for guests to slide in between the rows of chairs to get to their seat. There are walking spaces in between the columns containing rows of chairs.
Cocktail setting is where guests are all standing. Most of the time, cocktail tables (high tables) are placed at the event venue and sometimes, no tables and chairs at all. Guests can easily mingle and speak to other guests. Drinks are usually served and the type of food served for the guests’ convenience of eating would be cocktail-style food like finger food. It is advisable not to serve food that would require guests to use their fork and knife to cut as that would result in the rocking of the cocktail table.
7. Top table and sprigs
Top table and sprigs layout.
Top table and sprigs are commonly used in the western countries, especially in the United Kingdom. It is usually for more formal occassions. The table where it is referred to as “top table” is where the host and the important guests are seated. Sprig refers to the tables that are lined in front of the top table. The word ‘sprig’ means a small twig or stem with leaves or flowers on it. The line up of the tables and chairs resemble sprigs.
Some of the pictures on the seating arrangements above were created using AllSeated.com. There are many types of event layout that you can use for your event and you can even create your own layout. At the end of the day, what is important is that your layout allows your guests to move about and also be seated comfortably without getting blocked or knocked into. Imagine if you are standing and holding a drink while chatting with another guest at an event, then someone knocks into you because the tables were placed too close together and there is no place for guests to walk around. You would not like that.
Another example of layout not well thought of is tables and chairs placed too close together that when you are seated, the chair behind is touching your chair. Then when you want to get up and push your chair behind, you can knock the person sitting on the chair behind and have him cup his/her face into the soup bowl. Now, we would not want that to happen. So just use some common sense when it comes to creating your layout for your event.
When you are planning an event, you would need to consider the different types of layout for your tables and chairs. Here are some common types of settings for the event area or room layout.
Banquet seating arrangement.
Round tables are commonly used with chairs placed all around the table. Usual number of chairs are 8, 10 or 12 chairs per table.
Cabaret style where the chairs are placed on one half of the table only so that all guests are facing the front of the room.
Round tables are used and the chairs are placed around half of the table where those who are seating on the chair will be facing the stage. This style is useful when you have a presentation or stage performance, so everyone seated can face the stage and watch.
One rectangular shaped table is used for boardroom style meetings. Chairs are placed along both the longer sides of the table. The person chairing the meeting will usually sit on one end of the shorter part of the table. Sometimes there is another seat placed at the other end of the shorter part of the table. All the guests attending the boardroom meeting will be able to see each other at the table.
4. Hollow Square
Hollow square seating arrangement.
This square table setting has a hollow centre. It is usually set up using smaller square or rectangular tables, joined up together to form a square shape. Chairs are placed along the outer part of the square, with the guests seated facing towards the hollow part so that they can look at each other.
Square or rectangle tables are joined together to form a squarish U-shape setting. It is like the hollow square except tables on one side of the hollow square are removed. This layout would be useful if there is presentation at the event and all the guests can look at the focal point. This layout also allows the speaker or presenter to easily approach everyone seated from inside the ‘U’.
Classroom style setting.
Classroom layout is where tables are placed in rows with chairs so that people can sit on the chairs to use the table. Commonly it is set with a walking space in the middle of the room, with rows of tables and chairs on the left and right.